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The Honor of a Name: Marital Status, Property, and the Patronymic

  • Andrea Mansker
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

Divorce proceedings after 1884 provided one concrete space where individuals used the honor culture to negotiate new forms of symbolic citizenship for women. But the introduction of the Naquet law also generated several legislative, judicial, and feminist debates during the fin de siècle over a related aspect of familial honor that had significant implications for female civil identity: the patronymic. Bourgeois men and women had long been concerned about protecting the honor of their family names, due to the appellation’s close connection to property and public reputation. However, as the next two chapters will show, the possibility of legalized divorce raised new anxieties for parliamentarians, judges, and women’s activists about the instability of female identity and the patrimonial functions of male honor. The marital name became a point of contention around which several political deliberations on women’s capacity for citizenship revolved. In this chapter and the next one, on feminist discussions of the patronymic and feminine titles, I continue to consider how divorce was related to women’s subversion of the male honor culture and to their attempts to develop an autonomous civil and civic identity detached from that of their husbands.

Keywords

Married Woman Single Woman Civil Code Civil Court French Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
    The count’s full name was Marie-Charles-Gabriel-Sosthène de La Rochefoucauld. He held his seat in the Chamber from 1876 to 1898. See André Berthelot and Camille Dreyfus (eds), La Grande Encyclopédie, vol. 28 (Paris: Larousse, 1886–1902), 782–3; Adolphe Robert and Gaston Cougny (eds), Dictionnaire des parlementaires français, comprenant tous les membres des Assemblées françaises et tous les Ministres français depuis le 1er Mai 1789 jusqu’au 1er Mai 1889, 5 vols. (Paris: Bourloton, 1889), 603.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Maryse Jornod, La Femme et le nom en droits Suisse et français (Geneva: Droz, 1991), 89–91, 138–9. For an example of a failed lawsuit brought by a woman against her married sister in which the former attempted to deprive the latter of the usage of their common patronymic, see Gazette des tribunaux, September 12, 1907. Case from the civil tribunal of the Department of the Seine, 5th chamber, audience of April 10, 1907.Google Scholar
  3. 27.
    McBride, “Public Authority and Private Lives,” 762–6; Theodore Zeldin, France, 1848–1945, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1973), 358.Google Scholar
  4. 30.
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    For bigamist scandals in the mid–1880s, see Angus McClaren, The Trials of Masculinity: Policing Sexual Boundaries, 1870–1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 59–70. McClaren estimates that there were 67 trials for bigamy in France between 1885 and 1894, with a conviction rate of about 78 percent.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  7. 45.
    For scholarship on this issue during the 1789 Revolution, see Pateman, The Sexual Contract; Landes, Women and the Public Sphere; Hunt, The Family Romance of the French Revolution, chs 4, 5; Geneviève Fraisse, Reason’s Muse: Sexual Difference and the Birth of Democracy, trans. Jane Marie Todd (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  8. 47.
    On the pétroleuse, see Gay Gullickson, Unruly Women of Paris: Images of the Commune (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996). On women’s activism during the Commune, see Carolyn Eichner, Surmounting the Barricades: Women in the Paris Commune (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  9. 63.
    William Sewell, “Property, Labor and the Emergence of Socialism in France 1789–1848” in John M. Merriman (ed.), Consciousness and Class Experience in Nineteenth-Century Europe (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1979), 45–63.Google Scholar
  10. 85.
    Sully Ledermann, “Les divorces et les séparations de corps en France,” Population (French Edition) 3: 2 (April–June 1948): 339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Andrea Mansker 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Mansker
    • 1
  1. 1.Sewanee: The University of the SouthUSA

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